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2016 Nissan Maxima

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$17,453 — $27,953 USED
20
Photos
Sedan
5 Seats
26 MPG
(Combined)
Key specs of the base trim
 — 
Compare 5 trims

Overview

Is this the car for you?

The Good

  • Aggressive styling
  • Tight handling
  • Smooth, effortless power
  • Unobtrusive CVT
  • SR's steering feel
  • Upscale interior overall

The Bad

  • Rough-riding SR model
  • Lack of steering feedback (non-SR)
  • Limited front and rear headroom with moonroof
  • Appearance of cabin's simulated metal trim
  • Sport mode button location
  • Small trunk
2016 Nissan Maxima exterior side view

What to Know

about the 2016 Nissan Maxima
  • Redesigned for 2016
  • 300-hp V-6
  • Continuously variable transmission
  • 8-inch navigation system standard
  • Collision warning with autonomous braking available
  • Performance-focused SR trim

Our Take

from the Cars.com expert editorial team

Nissan advertises its sedan as a four-door sports car. With its recent redesign for 2016, the Maxima wears an even more aggressive look to back up its name, but is it still a car that's fun to drive? Watch the video for more.

By Mike Hanley

The redesigned 2016 Nissan Maxima is a powerful, good-handling sedan that stays true to the nameplate's performance-oriented heritage and features an upscale interior that befits its price.

"Maxima" is Nissan's longest continually-in-use nameplate, and the eighth-generation car is a boldly styled sedan that draws heavily from the Nissan Sport Sedan Concept.

Ever since the Nissan Altima grew into a midsize family sedan in the early 2000s, the Maxima hasn't fit neatly into a segment. Nissan says the 2016 Maxima is designed to compete with larger, traditional full-size sedans like the Chevrolet Impala and Toyota Avalon, as well as appeal to buyers looking to move up to a luxury car, like the Acura TLX. To see these cars' specs compared with the Maxima's, click here.

The 2016 Nissan Maxima is offered in five trim levels — S, SV, SL, SR and Platinum — that determine the level of equipment; accessories are available, but there are no option packages. We drove an SL, which is priced at $37,715, and the $38,495 SR. That one is the most performance-focused model, with unique suspension bushings, springs, shocks, front stabilizer bar and chassis bracing, in addition to 19-inch alloy wheels with stickier Goodyear tires (prices include an $825 destination charge).

Exterior & Styling
The Maxima brings Nissan's Energetic Flow design language to its sedan lineup (see the new- and prior-generation 2014 Maxima compared here). Signatu...

The redesigned 2016 Nissan Maxima is a powerful, good-handling sedan that stays true to the nameplate's performance-oriented heritage and features an upscale interior that befits its price.

"Maxima" is Nissan's longest continually-in-use nameplate, and the eighth-generation car is a boldly styled sedan that draws heavily from the Nissan Sport Sedan Concept.

Ever since the Nissan Altima grew into a midsize family sedan in the early 2000s, the Maxima hasn't fit neatly into a segment. Nissan says the 2016 Maxima is designed to compete with larger, traditional full-size sedans like the Chevrolet Impala and Toyota Avalon, as well as appeal to buyers looking to move up to a luxury car, like the Acura TLX. To see these cars' specs compared with the Maxima's, click here.

The 2016 Nissan Maxima is offered in five trim levels — S, SV, SL, SR and Platinum — that determine the level of equipment; accessories are available, but there are no option packages. We drove an SL, which is priced at $37,715, and the $38,495 SR. That one is the most performance-focused model, with unique suspension bushings, springs, shocks, front stabilizer bar and chassis bracing, in addition to 19-inch alloy wheels with stickier Goodyear tires (prices include an $825 destination charge).

Exterior & Styling
The Maxima brings Nissan's Energetic Flow design language to its sedan lineup (see the new- and prior-generation 2014 Maxima compared here). Signature cues include a plunging grille bordered by LED daytime running lights and gloss-black pillar finishes that give the roof a floating appearance — something Nissan says is inspired by a fighter jet's canopy. The front end is aggressive — the car looks menacing when you see it coming up on you in your rearview mirror — and also memorable. It's a design that demands a reaction, good or bad.

My reaction to the floating rear pillar was that I didn't especially care for it. The blacked-out front pillars are a subtle touch, but the treatment is jarring at the rear, where the roof drops to meet the body. Dark paint colors minimize the effect if you don't care for the design cue, either.

How It Drives
Large cars may be known for a forgiving, comfortable ride quality, but that's not the Maxima formula. Compared with a Chevrolet Impala or Chrysler 300, which both do a good job smoothing out bumps and cracks in the road, the Maxima is a much more connected, tighter-handling car. There's remarkably little body roll when driving quickly through a corner. You feel bumps, but they're dealt with in a refined way.

The SR trim level's unique suspension is considerably firmer and busier; you feel more road imperfections, even smaller ones, and the impact is harsher when you hit a big pavement crack. It's a little too rough-riding for me, especially considering the good ride-and-handling balance the regular suspension provides.

You'll want the SR trim if you really care about steering feel, as it offers the best of the bunch. In SL trim, the Maxima's steering is disappointingly short on feedback; the wheel turns easily but you don't get a sense of what the tires are experiencing at the road. There's a Drive Mode Selector with Normal and Sport modes that modifies gas pedal and transmission response and steering assist, as well as — in certain trims — engine sound prevalence in the cabin, but the slightly weightier steering feel in Sport doesn't do anything to address the lack of feedback. Press the Sport button in an SR, however, and the steering wheel gains a nice, firm heft to it and some feedback through the wheel. It feels right in this performance-focused trim.

All trim levels benefit from the performance of the standard 3.5-liter V-6 engine, which provides smooth, effortless acceleration. Rated at 300 horsepower, the V-6 still has power to spare for a quick pass at highway speeds. It pairs with a continuously variable automatic transmission that's programmed to act like a conventional automatic at low speeds for a more traditional driving experience, according to Nissan.

The Nissan Maxima shows how far CVT technology has come recently, at least when paired with a powerful engine. It's mostly unobtrusive, with only a hint of the droning that's associated with this type of transmission when you accelerate hard. If you've been driving a car with a conventional automatic, this CVT won't seem strange or different.

One of the benefits of a CVT is that it's able to quickly increase engine speed when you want more power because it doesn't need to shift to a lower gear. The Maxima's CVT is very responsive; nudge the gas pedal and engine rpm immediately increases, providing more power.

CVTs usually enhance gas mileage, and the Nissan Maxima's EPA-estimated 25 mpg combined rating tops most V-6 competitors by a few mpg or so. One exception is the V-6-powered Acura TLX, which has the same rating and uses a nine-speed automatic.

Interior
Overall quality and attention to detail is very good. The standard leather-wrapped steering wheel feels great; it's even better in the SR, which has Alcantara simulated-suede inserts. The upper sections of the doors are finished with soft-touch material that's a comfortable alternative to the door armrests. The center console has a padded section to rest your knee against, and there's real stitching on the doors, console and dashboard. One element that doesn't look premium, however, is the simulated metal finish on the dashboard, doors and center console. It doesn't look real.

Fighter jets also informed the layout of the cabin controls, according to Nissan. The center dashboard control panel is angled 7 degrees toward the driver, and center console controls are close at hand.

It's a more form-fitting cabin compared with some full-size competitors. I like to drive with the seat raised where possible, and in the SL, which is one of two trims with a dual-panel panoramic moonroof, my head was constantly brushing against the roof. For better structural rigidity, the SR does not have a moonroof, and the additional half-inch of front headroom helps considerably.

The new Nissan Maxima's roofline is 1.3 inches lower, which contributes to the sedan's hunkered-down look. Thankfully, visibility isn't compromised; forward views are good, as is over-shoulder visibility.

TheNissan  Maxima has the latest version of Nissan's NASA-inspired Zero Gravity front seats. They're finished in cloth (S), leather (SV and SL), premium leather with quilted Alcantara inserts (SR) or premium leather seats with quilted leather inserts (Platinum). They feel quite a bit spongier than most bucket seats, which tend to have firmer cushioning. I thought they were comfortable during a day of driving, but if you prefer firm seat cushioning, these could take some getting used to — if you do at all.

The backseat isn't as spacious as the Impala's or Avalon's, but it's big enough to carry adult passengers comfortably. Similar to the front seating area, the available panoramic moonroof reduces headroom.

Ergonomics & Electronics
Controls on the door and dashboard are nicely in reach, but the location of the Drive Mode Selector's Normal and Sport buttons is a problem; they're back near the center armrest, and you have to twist your arm awkwardly to press one. Buttons closer to the dashboard — or even on the steering wheel — would be better.

Digital screens are rapidly taking over the dashboards of modern cars, and there are two in the Maxima: a 7-inch screen between the gauges and an 8-inch touch-screen in the center of the dashboard. The gauge cluster screen lets you cycle through different modes to see information like speed and heading, trip data, tire pressure and active safety features. The dashboard screen is the primary display for the standard navigation system and multimedia functions. The Display Commander control knob on the center console can also operate the dashboard touch-screen.

Cargo & Storage
The Maxima's 14.3-cubic-foot trunk is smaller than most of its competitors', but it's about 1 cubic foot bigger than the TLX's. The trunk is nicely shaped, and the trunk lid's support arms move within an enclosed area, so there's no risk of them crushing your cargo. The release straps for the 60/40-split folding backseat are in the trunk. The rear seatbacks fold flat with the trunk floor.

The Nissan Maxima has a media bin just ahead of the center console cupholders. The bin is large enough for an iPhone 6 Plus, according to Nissan, and it's also where the car's two standard USB ports are located.

Safety
As of publication, neither the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety nor the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration had crash-tested the 2016 Maxima. However, previous versions of the car have been tested, so the new version will probably be evaluated at some point.

Most of the Nissan Maxima's active safety features come on SL and higher trims. These models have standard blind spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with autonomous braking and predictive forward collision warning. Predictive forward collision warning uses low-mounted radar to "see" under the car directly ahead of you to the next one in line. The system can issue a warning if it senses that car slowing suddenly — even if you can't see it yourself.

The top-of-the-line Platinum trim adds a surround camera system with moving-object detection and a drowsy-driver warning system. Drowsy-driver warning compares steering inputs at the beginning of a drive with ones later in the trip to determine if the driver is getting tired and needs to take a break.

For a full list of safety features, see the Features & Specs page.

Value in Its Class
Years ago, Nissan dubbed the Maxima the 4-Door Sports Car. It's an ambitious tagline, but it reflects the fact that the car caters to a specific type of buyer: the driving enthusiast who still needs sedan practicality. The 2016 
Nissan Maxima is no different from its predecessors in this regard, but its new level of luxury — both in terms of cabin materials and features — now makes it a credible alternative to entry-luxury sedans. If you're shopping sport sedans, it's worth a test drive.

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Consumer Reviews

What drivers are saying

4.7
72 reviews — Read All reviews
Exterior Styling
(4.8)
Performance
(4.8)
Interior Design
(4.7)
Comfort
(4.8)
Reliability
(4.8)
Value For The Money
(4.5)

Read reviews that mention:

(5.0)

One of the best cars

by Handsumsean from Severn MD on December 2, 2018

I was thinking and still am thinking about trading my bmw 328i in for a maxima. Just a much bigger spacious car not too high priced and has great technology Read full review

(5.0)

Great cars!!!

by Sandroc from Austin texas on November 30, 2018

Love my car it?s sporty and fast!! Lots of leg space and big trunk . I would recommend it to anyone looking for a sleek and sporty car. Read full review

Safety

Recalls and crash tests

Recalls

The 2016 Nissan Maxima currently has 6 recalls


Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2016 Nissan Maxima 3.5 S

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Child Seat Anchors (Latch)

Ease of Use
acceptable

Front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/thigh
good
Lower leg/foot
good
Overall evaluation
good
Retraints and dummy kinematics
acceptable
Structure and safety cage
good

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
acceptable
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
acceptable

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Small Overlap Front - Driver Side

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/Thigh
good
Lower Leg/Foot
good
Overall Evaluation
good
Restraints and Dummy Kinematics
acceptable
Structure and Safety Cage
good
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

Warranty

New car and certified pre-owned programs by Nissan

New Car Program Benefits

  • Bumper-to-Bumper

    36 months / 36,000 miles

  • Powertrain

    60 months / 60,000 miles

  • Roadside Assistance

    36 months / 36,000 miles

Certified Pre-Owned Program Benefits

  • Maximum Age/Mileage

    6 years/less than 80,000 miles

  • Basic Warranty Terms

    84 months/100,000 miles from original new-car in-service date

  • Powertrain

    84 months/100,000 miles (includes LEAF electric vehicle system and powertrain)

  • Dealer Certification Required

    167-point inspection

  • Roadside Assistance

    Yes

  • View All CPO Program Details

Latest 2016 Maxima Stories

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Maxima received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*

Third-row access

N/A

Infant seat

A

Booster

(second row)

B

Booster

(third row)

N/A

Latch or Latch system

A

Forward-facing convertible

(third row)

N/A

Forward-facing convertible

(second row)

A

Rear-facing convertible

A
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.
For complete details,

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker

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